Two Aspects of Relevance in Structured Argumentation: Minimality and Paraconsistency

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Diana Grooters
Henry Prakken


This paper studies two issues concerning relevance in structured argumentation in the context of the ASPIC+ framework, arising from the combined use of strict and defeasible inference rules. One issue arises if the strict inference rules correspond to classical logic. A longstanding problem is how the trivialising effect of the classical Ex Falso principle can be avoided while satisfying consistency and closure postulates. In this paper, this problem is solved by disallowing chaining of strict rules, resulting in a variant of the ASPIC+ framework called ASPIC*, and then disallowing the application of strict rules to inconsistent sets of formulas. Thus in effect Rescher & Manor's paraconsistent notion of weak consequence is embedded in ASPIC*.

Another issue is minimality of arguments. If arguments can apply defeasible inference rules, then they cannot be required to have subset-minimal premises, since defeasible rules based on more information may well make an argument stronger. In this paper instead minimality is required of applications of strict rules throughout an argument. It is shown that under some plausible assumptions this does not affect the set of conclusions. In addition, circular arguments are in the new ASPIC* framework excluded in a way that satisfies closure and consistency postulates and that generates finitary argumentation frameworks if the knowledge base and set of defeasible rules are finite. For the latter result the exclusion of chaining of strict rules is essential.

Finally, the combined results of this paper are shown to be a proper extension of classical-logic argumentation with preferences and defeasible rules.

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